rejectomorph (flying_blind) wrote,


I was writing something fairly long that was sort of about John Kenneth Galbraith, who died Saturday at the age of 97, but I can't quite get the piece to come into focus. What I can say is that he loomed large over the field of economics when I was young, and now his work is seldom read, and I think that his eclipse in recent decades has been a great misfortune. It isn't that anyone ever actually disproved his ideas, but that American economists either got hung up on The Numbers (you can't spell "numbers" without "numb"), or else just sort of wandered off into a vaguely European-conservatism-in-exile view of things.

When I read things about economics from members of the latter group, I too often get the feeling that I'm listening to something as pertinent to reality as was the chatter of that bunch of deposed Russian aristocrats who ensconced themselves in Paris in the 1920's, where they slowly faded into ever more tattered oblivion while yet convincing themselves that they were soon to regain their former power and glory. When I read things about economics from the former group... oh, who the hell am I kidding. I can't bear to read their stuff, so I've sworn off it.

One of the few economists who doesn't give me the feeling that the caviar isn't quite fresh, or cause my eyes to immediately glaze over (at least not very often) is Brad DeLong. If you'd like to read something about Galbraith, DeLong has posted to his weblog these words he wrote about JKG last year. Worth a look.

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